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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Turkish miniature of Maryam (Mary)
PronunciationArabic: [ˈmarjam]
Hebrew: [mirˈjam]
Persian: [mæɾˈjæm]
Amharic: [marˈjam]
Malayalam: [marijam]
Language(s)Arabic, Syro-Aramaic, Amharic, Tigrinya, Armenian, Georgian
Word/nameHebrew (Possibly from Egyptian)
Region of originAncient Near East
Other names
Related namesMiriam, Miryam, Myriam, Marium, Merieme, Mariam,Mariam, Meryem, Maria, Marija, Mariah, Mary, Marie

Maryam or Mariam is the Aramaic form of the biblical name Miriam (the name of the prophetess Miriam, the sister of Moses). It is notably the name of Mary the mother of Jesus.[1][2][3] The spelling in the Semitic abjads is mrym (Hebrew מרים, Aramaic ܡܪܝܡ, Arabic مريم), which may be transliterated in a number of ways (Miryam, Miriyam, Mirijam, Marium, Maryam, Mariyam, Marijam, Meryem, Merjeme, etc.)

Via its use in the New Testament the name has been adopted worldwide, especially in Roman Catholicism, but also in Eastern Christianity, in Protestantism, and in Islam. In Latin Christianity, the Greek form Mariam was adopted as latinate Maria (whence French Marie and English Mary). Forms retaining the final -m are found throughout the Middle East, in Arabic, Armenian, Georgian, Urdu, and Persian, as well as the Horn of Africa, including Amharic, Tigrinya, and Somali, Turkish Meryem and the Azerbaijani Məryəm and in Malayalam as Mariyam in south India.


The name may have originated from the Egyptian language; in a suggestion going back to 1897, it is possibly derivative of the root mr "love; beloved" [4] (compare mry.t-ymn "Merit-Amun", i.e. "beloved of Amun"). Maas (1912) references (but rejects) a 1906 suggestion interpreting the name as "beloved of Yahweh".[5] Maas (1912) further proposes possible derivation from Hebrew, either from marah "to be rebellious", or (more likely) from mara "well nourished".[6]

The name has a long tradition of scholarly etymologisation; some seventy suggestions are treated by Otto Bardenhewer in monographic form in his Der Name Maria (1895). It was early etymologized as containing the Hebrew root mr "bitter" (cf. myrrh), or mry "rebellious". St. Jerome (writing c. 390), following Eusebius of Caesarea, translates the name as "drop of the sea" (stilla maris in Latin), from Hebrew מר mar "drop" (cf. Isaiah 40:15) and ים yam "sea". This translation was subsequently rendered stella maris ("star of the sea") due to scribal error, whence the Virgin Mary's title Star of the Sea.[4] Rashi, an 11th-century Jewish commentator on the Bible, wrote that the name was given to the sister of Moses because of the Egyptians' harsh treatment of Jews in Egypt. Rashi wrote that the Israelites lived in Egypt for two hundred ten years, including eighty-six years of cruel enslavement that began at the time Moses' elder sister was born. Therefore, the girl was called Miriam, because the Egyptians made life bitter (מַר, mar) for her people.[7]

Modern given name

Modern given names derived from Aramaic Maryam are frequent in Christian culture, as well as, due to the Quranic tradition of Mary, extremely frequently given in Islamic cultures. There are a large number of variants and derivations.

The New Testament gives the name as both Mariam (Μαριάμ) and Maria (Μαρία). The Latin Vulgate uses the first declension, Maria.

Maryam is the now-usual English-language rendition of the Arabic name. The spelling Mariyam (in German-language contexts also Marijam) is sometimes used as a close transcription from Hebrew, Aramaic or Arabic.

The spelling Mariam is current in transliteration from Georgian and Armenian, and in German-language transliteration from Aramaic or Arabic. Mariam was also a current spelling in early modern English, as in the Jacobean era play The Tragedy of Mariam.

Derived names

Maryam as the name of Mary mother of Jesus is also part of given names consisting of genitive constructions (idafa) in Ethiopian tradition, such as Haile Mariam "power of Mary", Baeda Maryam "Hand of Mary", several people Newaya Maryam "Property of Mary" or Takla Maryam "Plant of Mary", used as masculine given names. In Arabic, Marwan, meaning "one who is fragrant like myrrh", could be the masculine form of Maryam.

Ustad Ali Maryam, architect in 19th century Persia, added Maryam to his name after building a house for an important woman with that name.

People named Maryam

Notable people with the name Maryam include:

Notable people with spelling variations of the name Maryam include:

See also


  1. ^ Patrick Hanks, Kate Hardcastle and Flavia Hodges (2006). A Dictionary of First Names. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198610602.
  2. ^ Janie Steen (2008). Verse and Virtuosity: The Adaptation of Latin Rhetoric in Old English Poetry. University of Toronto Press Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-8020-9157-4.
  3. ^ The Holy Qur'an: Maryam (Mary), Sura 19 (Translation by A. Yusuf Ali)
  4. ^ a b A. Maas, "The Name of Mary", The Catholic Encyclopedia (1912), citing Franz von Hummelauer (in Exod. et Levit., Paris, 1897, p. 161)
  5. ^ citing Zorrell, Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie, 1906, pp. 356 sqq.
  6. ^ "the name miryam may be derived either from marah, to be rebellious, or from mara, to be well nourished. Etymology does not decide which of these derivations is to be preferred; but it is hardly probable that the name of a young girl should be connected with the idea of rebellion, while Orientals consider the idea of being well nourished as synonymous with beauty and bodily perfection, so that they would be apt to give their daughters a name derived from mara" A. Maas, "The Name of Mary", The Catholic Encyclopedia (1912).
  7. ^ Rashi. "Commentary on Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs)". p. 2:13. "From the time that Miriam was born, the Egyptians intensified the bondage upon Israel; therefore, she was called Miriam, because they made it bitter (מַר) for them."
This page was last edited on 31 July 2021, at 17:47
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